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[HOU] Bayview Duck Restaurant, Bacliff - Short Report

Today my wife & I finally got around to making the 115-mile each-way trip from Eagle Lake to this English pub; the long trip definitely making us mega-eager for Guinness Stew in Yorkshire Pudding and some COLD Scotch Eggs and maybe a bit of crypto-English-ale beer to wash down.

First thing you should probably be aware of is that the Bayview Duck Restaurant is CLOSED SUNDAYS.

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End of Short Report.
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(Was unable to ascertain their hours as no Web site so this may prevent others from having a similarly abortive mission. Fallback seafood Blah-xtravaganza not worth noting.)

Bayview Duck Restaurant
(281) 339-3510 CALL AHEAD FOR HOURS(!!!!!!!!!!!!)
3131 Highway 146, Bacliff, TX 77518

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  1. Well, it has taken me until now to get back here. Finally yesterday I made the (2 hour each way) trip for a looksee.
    First impression was positive, a cozy, welcoming (and eclectically-decorated) interior with a bar on the left. Once my eyes adjusted to the light I selected a seat farther down as the bar is quite long (I’d guess about 12 seats) and I could imagine good for spirited conversation when busy.
    The owner (behind the bar) introduced himself as Alec and I reciprocated. A pint of Guinness was ordered along with a Scotch Egg (menu is quite short but most bases are covered http://thebayviewduck.com/menu.html ). I did ask the owner as I ordered “Served cold I assume?” but I don’t think he heard me. Sure enough the Scotch Egg (ref: other Quests for cold Scotch Eggs and Ploughman’s in these annals) came freshly cooked and hot. That was the bad news, but the good news was that it was tasty. The sausage coating was just of the right thickness and seasoning. Had I had a bit more time I would let it cool down and I think it would have been a very tasty S.E. A little tub of Colman’s Mustard accompanied. I had a brief conversation about Ploughman’s and the owner told me he’d tried it but in order to offer premium (and there can be no other choice) cheeses, the price was too high to encourage much turnover.
    The room is full of nooks and crannies and lots of books, and decorative touches. A gentleman sits on guard outside the restrooms, wearing a Noggin the Nog helmet, and I guess if you engage him in conversation (he is a dummy after all) you know you’ve “had enough.”
    On a rainy day there was a clear regulars group showed up after a while. I was a little disappointed in the Guinness as 16 oz glasses are in effect and it didn’t completely hit the spot taste-wise (perhaps not enough G drinkers here).
    I was particularly impressed by some images from space of the southern UK (where the owner comes from originally) donated (I gather) by a regular from NASA. Unfortunately no-one else was eating that I could sneak a look at other dishes but one thing I had my eye on was the Chip Buttie “Only for the British!” Hard to resist as a chip buttie is difficult and arcane science: to my mind has to use SALTED butter, and the chips put on there at a suitable temperature to melt it for the most part, but not completely. Then slather on more salt, vinegar, and maybe a soupçon of H.P.. Mmmmm, now I write it out I wish I had tried it!!
    All in all, a pleasant (but scant) couple of hours. Were it not for the geographical incompatibilities this is a place I would definitely come back to. I will definitely drop in if in the vicinity nonetheless.
    As I mentioned to the landlord I think this pretty much completes my visiting the main UK pub players in the metroplex. This one is well above average in terms of warmth of welcome and authenticity.
    Thanks for reading.

    bb

    17 Replies
    1. re: bishopsbitter

      Great story! Sounds like a little spot of home. I wonder, however, how this place fares with the locals of Bacliff? Do they have fish and chips and burgers as well? Hard to imagine them surviving on chip buttie and scotch eggs!

      Have you been to Feast? They are featuring Haggis this week, which my DH likes. They also have a traditional Sunday Roast a couple of times a month by reservation, the next on Mothering Sunday.

      1. re: Lambowner

        I have and I must say the experience sticks in my mind (in a GOOD way for a change) so something was right. I may have written a review way back in the threads here. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/586908 Yes they do do standard American stuff too. But the"landlord" is the genuine article. And (like myself) from a publican family background.

        1. re: bishopsbitter

          Are you contemplating opening a pub here? At Feast, the things I adore are the pork belly with the most perfect mashed potatoes anywhere - crusted on the bottom - and cabbage, exmoor toast, sticky toffee pudding. The more adventurous half actually teared up eating the chicken heart appetizer once, I kid you not. Something about his grandmother. A scene straight out of Ratatouille. Also the pork cheeks.

          1. re: Lambowner

            No, too old to divert into hospitality at this stage, but it was fun to grow up (age 7-14) in a pub. Right up to the time he died my dad used to chastise me for stealing his beer "you thought I'd never notice!" well maybe I sneaked a wee drop now and again. That's when I developed a taste for cask ales! Mmmmm could murder a pint or six right now. Feast have that streak of "insanity" and "mania" necessary for any really decent restaurant. I think it makes it a really hard go for the people who run it (far easier to coast or open an Olive Garden franchise) but the people at Feast (and I reckon the Bayview Duck too) as yet have not "settled down" to "blahdom" and that is a great and wonderful thing.

            1. re: bishopsbitter

              I am smiling. You are exactly why I love the British so much. I prefer to call it the Mother Country. Cheers.

              BTW, what part of the UK do you hail from? My people originated in Liverpool, I believe, back in the long ago day, have traced to early 1800s. England has always felt like home, even though I didn't get there until my 40s. US Anglophiles are obnoxious.

              1. re: Lambowner

                North of Newcastle (Northumberland county). Home to Brown Ale. As a boy well remember the actual Newcastle Brewery replete with dray horses (and their copious "left-overs") and the other odor . . . of malting barley. I have a US friend who feels of Ireland the way you do of the UK. As though "separated at birth" and really Irish. England has become too surveillance/police state for me in the past 20 years. Their speed cameras everywhere (even in the most quaint and picturesque of villages: a total eyesore) and Draconian rules and reg's are just too much. But their beer . . . . well, occasionally I can overlook the rules and reg's for a pint.

                1. re: bishopsbitter

                  Did you ever wander down to Sunderland to try Vaux's? I spent a summer in Sunderland working at Merton colliery near Seaham. Actually we spent half an hour on and half an hour off working UNDER the coke ovens on the heating system. It was 130 degrees in there and absolutely no air moving - so bad that at first I thought I couldn't stay there. Used to drink 3 pints of tea and salt tablets after each half hour shift. Pretty dirty and dangerous work.

                  1. re: kagemusha49

                    My grandmother lived in Sunderland. Of course know of Vaux Brewery. Having a lot of my family who were miners I know exactly (although not from personal experience) what you are talking about. A hell of a way to earn a living. Collieries, miners' baths, pit heaps and so on were the landscape of my youth.

                    1. re: bishopsbitter

                      I'm glad you explained this is mining. I wasn't sure if it was even English. It sounds horrid - no OSHA type agency? But having visited Smitty's in Lockhart, I can tell you those poor pitmasters work under similar circumstances, but without a break every thirty minutes. Hot hot work in a smoke filled room. In Texas in the summer. Yikes.

                      1. re: Lambowner

                        Trust me - being UNDERNEATH a coking oven (imagine a whole city block filled with red hot coal and you are underneath it) is a heckuva lot hotter than a pit barbecue. I'll agree that neither job is all that great or safe.

                        1. re: kagemusha49

                          Like NYC firefighters, coal miners are a breed apart. I grew up among miners and ex miners with a staggering variety of missing digits, hacking coughs, bent backs and otehr ailments. At pubs and clubs (many clubs run by miners' unions) they always wanted lots of drink and lots of good times (dancing etc.) by way of antitidote to work I think. Some of the conditions in those "wet mines" (all Northumberland mines pretty near the coast) just atrocious at times from what I gather from my cousin who was a miner.

                          1. re: bishopsbitter

                            Once in a while they let us go ON TOP of the coke ovens to conduct tests. We wore clogs with soles that were more than an inch thick - leather uppers and wooden soles. (Yes I was a cloggie!) You could hear the wood sizzle as you walked on top of the oven - burned through 2 pairs pretty quickly.

                            1. re: kagemusha49

                              Brings a new definition to "earning a day's pay."

                              1. re: kagemusha49

                                Who'd have thought thirty years ago we'd all be sitting here drinking Chateau de Chassille ?

                        2. re: bishopsbitter

                          I used to shower with the miners (where else). Then when I got back to my digs I'd have a bath. Then go out and down a few pints of Vaux to get rid of the dust. My wife also comes from a mining family.

                          1. re: kagemusha49

                            Didn't mean to diminish the mean circumstances you were in. Smitty's is just the only thing in my experience to compare it to. Glad you are out of it.

                             
                            1. re: Lambowner

                              Not a problem Lambowner - unlike the miners I knew my assignment was temporary. Almost got killed twice though.